Can You See the Future? I Can’t. I’m Near-Sighted. Or, Notes from HOW Design Live

I get annoyed easily and often, seizing on the most benign things with a kind of righteous anger.

Like when people say, “hot enough for ya?” and “The thing is, is that” (WHY do we say “is” twice. WHYYYYY. Who started this? I want to bludgeon them.)

Also, I get annoyed at profiles on dating apps, an alternate universe where LITERALLY EVERYONE lists “hiking” as one of their very most favorite things to do. Please, “Doug45.” You live in Manhattan. The only hiking you’re doing is up the long broken escalator from the Q train which starts at the core of the earth.

But another thing people say that drives me up a wall is, “Well, I can’t predict the future, so…”

…and they use that as their legit “out” for why they can’t commit to things—or make a decision. They can’t say for sure if they’ll come to your party or be able to go that show or know if a relationship will work out.

“Oh, you can’t see the future, Bob? Oh that’s too bad. Because I totally can and my spidey sense says you might want to come to a complete stop at the corner of Elm today.

My point is this: NO ONE can see the future. But it’s the one thing we’re all trained on, worried about, losing sleep over. Because we don’t, won’t, and never can know what will happen.

Not with your portfolio. Not with your favorite team. Not with your relationship. Your favorite hair salon could close without notice (true story).

The reason I’m thinking about this is because I just presented a talk on this topic at How Design Live, one of the biggest design conferences in the country for creative professionals. And I spoke alongside a roster of industry leaders in the creative and design space (Debbie Millman, Beth Comstock), as well as heavy hitters like Elizabeth Gilbert.

This year’s conference theme was “Future Proof.” It raised the question: Is anything you’re doing right now future proof?

Will what you’re doing now last? Will it be here five, 10, 50 years from now? How would you know? How would anyone?

This isn’t just a critical question for creative marketers and designers, but for all of us.

I debuted a brand NEW talk called “Discover, Capture, and Communicate Your Best Ideas.” My thesis here was that there IS no one product, design, or asset that we’d expect to last forever. Things get outdated and updated all the time.

The thing that must be future proof is YOU.

YOU have to be sure that you’re not overly attached to any single idea, that you’re not rigid, nor aimless, and that you can flex and flow and adapt in order to stay at the top of your game.

That’s what makes you sustainable. That’s what makes you future proof.

I also gave attendees a taste of the Gateless Method, which I’ve studied and been trained in (created by Suzanne Kingsbury), which enables you and your team to generate new ideas and fresh perspectives on your work, without putting your creativity in a chokehold.

I’ve used Gateless with writers and speakers…but ALSO to great effect with financial professionals, too.

And I couldn’t have predicted it, but damn, it was a lot of fun.

Want to learn more about it? Let’s talk!

 

Image by @catiswhy.

 

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